Victoria Fox is best known for her glamorous, Hollywood novels; full of scandal, seduction and mystery. When I first read Power Games ahead of my monthly #ThrillsandSwoon blog, I was blown away and knew that I had to interview her! Luckily for me, she was utterly lovely and more than happy to answer my questions...
I was reading Jackie and Jilly when I was a teenager; I think any books you obsess over when you’re that age stay with you. At boarding school we thumbed through the rude bits after lights-out and whispered and giggled over them in our dorms – as well as superb stories, they were also fabulous sex-ed! Plenty about these authors inspire me: the incredible plotlines, the larger-than-life characterisation and the glittering, exotic locations, but most of all it’s the fact of a woman writing sex.
Jackie especially is known for her ball-busting heroines, female players taking control in business and in the bedroom, and I love that. It’s empowering to write about women in this way. Early bonkbusters paved the way for authors like me. Jackie and Jilly were pioneers of the genre and showed me that liberated women who enjoy sex are just as smart and powerful as men: it’s not about being one or the other, it’s about being both.
2) I absolutely loved your latest novel. Power Games examines the pressures put on those in the public’s spotlight, and then what happens when that is wrenched away from them. Each character adapts to their new situation in very different ways; did you know from the outset what was going to happen, or did that develop as you wrote?
Power Games is a book of two halves. Part One sets up the characters and their inter-connecting dramas, while Part Two drops them into a completely new situation and examines what is left. I knew where everybody was going to end up, but not always how that character was going to get there. In Part One we don’t see a lot of the cast together, so only when they collided did I get to see how the tensions and dynamics worked within the group. This threw up lots of surprises!
3) There are two very different societal structures in Power Games, the glamour of celebrity and the more intimate island community; which do you think reflects true life best, or are they both magnified aspects of our society?
The island reflects true life best. I wrote Power Games because I’m fascinated by the disparity between modern living in all its chaotic extravagance and the basic, integral workings of human nature. What happens when the world we know is ripped away? Have we evolved, or are we unchanged? That these castaways are celebrities further amplifies the issue; they are used to even greater decoration than ordinary people. What is that decoration worth, when faced with life or death?
The reality they come from is disturbed in its own way, but the jungle they enter is a new game entirely. They must come to grips with the fact that money and fame are worthless, as are the distractions they surround themselves with so that they don’t have to face what’s inside. On the island, impulses and urges break free. The rules go out the window.
4) The novel has been given a glam cover with a ‘blinged-up’ heart on it; which seems in some ways at odds with its Lord of the Flies-esque content. Do you think that, as a woman writer, your books are marketed in a particular way?
I’m seriously flattered about the Lord of the Flies comparison! But at its (blinged-up) heart, Power Games is a glamorous, dangerous, red-hot sexy slice of women’s escapist fiction, and I think the cover reflects that perfectly. I agree that some covers on the market can appear watered down, so my publishers and I were firm that Power Games should be bold, striking and memorable.
5) I’ve been referring to Power Games rather glibly on Twitter as #LordoftheFlieswithSex, but I genuinely feel that the sexual content adds an intensity to the narrative as a whole. How much of the sex in Part Two is base instinct, and how much is reminiscent of the romance of their previous lives?
Sex is the truest impulse of all. In the jungle, it comes to represent everything these characters have been suppressing or running from in their old lives. Without their former trappings, the mind and body are the only things left. Sex is the firmest expression of survival there is: the ultimate release, the ultimate emergence, and the ultimate reminder that they are still breathing. Relationships are carried through into Part Two but fresh desires also come to light, some of them more shocking than others.
6) And finally, can you tell us about any projects that you’re currently working on?
I’m halfway through my next glam-fiction novel, out summer 2015. It’s the tale of two sisters torn apart by fate, and unfolds between Hollywood, Europe and Argentina.
Power Games is out on 4th July and can be found in bookstores and online. For more information about Victoria Fox's other books and future projects, visit her website.